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Monkeypox tracker launched by the state as cases climb

Arif biswas
Monkeypox vaccines are becoming more available in Northeast Ohio as health systems and community organizations have announced pop-up clinics to vaccinate those most at-risk of infection.

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has launched a new web portal that tracks monkeypox cases across the state.

According to the tracker, which was released to the public on Thursday, Cuyahoga County has the highest number of cases in the state. The dashboard shows 69 monkeypox cases in Cuyahoga County. The second largest number of cases, 33, are in the Columbus area in Franklin County.

There are also monkeypox cases in Summit and Lorain counties, with four cases currently in Lake County, the dashboard shows.

Cuyahoga County health officials said on Wednesday that the majority of the cases in the county were among gay or bisexual men or those who sleep with other men. But monkeypox does not exclusively infect LGBTQ men, said Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Dr. Roderick Harris, who explained that the virus is not a sexually transmitted disease and can be spread by any close contact, especially skin-to-skin contact.

The dashboard, which will be updated weekly on Thursdays, is modeled after other dashboards ODH has developed to share information with Ohioans about infectious disease outbreaks, including the 2018 statewide outbreak of Hepatitis A, according to a news release from the state.

As of Thursday, there are 147 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Ohio across 19 counties. Some 96% of the cases have been among men.

Stephanie is the deputy editor of engaged journalism at Ideastream Public Media.